Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Winter Blackcap Revisited !

It's been a long time now, in fact not since the winter of 2013 has a Blackcap been seen in the garden,
 that's not to say that it's not been there, just not noticed.

So in the last few days of January 2015, coinciding with a particularly cold snap, there it was, early in the morning feeding on one of the apple halves I had placed on top of the feeding station, a fine male Blackcap.

 It's been around the garden now for the last few days, which leads me to believe that's its food source has become very scarce. 

It's become very protective of these apples, it's almost as if  its set up a territory, because it will not tolerate any other small bird near its food supply. The strange thing is that apart from the Blackbird and Starlings, which it sensibly stands aside for.

 No other small bird is really interested in the fruit, but its still determined to drive away the finches and Tits that are trying to feed on the sunflower hearts close by, and these are not even trying to compete for the fruit.

This aggression has led to Chaffinches being chased back to the pear tree, Goldfinches and house Sparrows scared off the sunflower heart feeder and an aerial skirmish with the local Robin. You can just make out the Blackcap at the bottom of the picture.

Attacks can come from all angles.

Its  been three days now and the Male Blackcap still spending most of the day around the apples.

Blackcap has become extremely aggressive, driving all small birds from the garden, this Goldfinch was feeding on the sunflower hearts which the Blackcap was not happy about, and its not even feeding on the sunflower hearts.

As I was watching the Blackcap guarding his apple, a movement in the ivy next to the patio window caught my eye, a female Blackcap, very shy, made no attempt to approach the apples or the male.

Even after removing the remains of the apple skins the Male Blackcap still reluctant to relinquish its food supply.

Day 5 and the male Blackcap arrived at the apple just after daybreak, where its been most of the day. 

Had a lucky escape as the local male Sparrowhawk fence hopping along the gardens arrived on the fence, surprising all in the garden,

including me.
 the Blackcap made a hasty retreat.

While watching the Blackcap, I was hoping the Wren might make an appearance, but no more sign of it, I did catch a glimpse of this Long tailed tit feeding on the Pear tree.

As this day draws to an end, as I glanced out the window, the blackcap was back again, looking very cold and fluffed up like a ball.

Its been interesting watching it these last few days, I was quite surprised how aggressive its been for a small warbler.
Hope it makes it through the winter and returns to its breeding grounds, probably back to Germany or there about.

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